If you’re thinking about getting a Frenchie, you need to make sure it’s the right choice for both you and the dog. This breed has surged in popularity over the last decade and with that has come a lot of irresponsible ownership. The bottom line is this; you need to make sure you understand the pros and cons of owning a French Bulldog before you buy. There’s so much that you need to know before you become an owner.
We’ve owned our own Frenchie since 2016 and in that time have learned very quickly about what you need to know and the pros and cons that come with owning this breed. Claude was the inspiration for creating the French Bulldog Owner website, and we’ve made it our mission to share everything we’ve learned (with advice from other owners too).
That’s why the French Bulldog pros and cons you read below are based on real-life experience from people who actually own a Frenchie. We’re not just a blog set-up by someone with no experience of this breed.
In addition to our own comments on the positives and negatives to ownership, we’ve also asked other Frenchie owners to give us their view as well. And that’s what you will get below; a “warts and all” overview of why should not get a French Bulldog or why you should get one – providing you’re prepared!
They are expensive to own, they can be high maintenance, but they will also bring a huge amount of joy and love into your life.
Please Note: All the pros, cons, negatives, positives, downside and upsides I list here are based on personal experience of owning a Frenchie. I hope it helps you understand what you should know before owning a French Bulldog
Owning a French Bulldog pros and cons
French Bulldog: pros to ownership
I am going to firstly list the positives and good reasons for owning a French Bulldog. For us, these pros can outweigh the reality (and cons) of owning a Frenchie so it’s a great place to start.
1. Are good with kids
Our son was around 3 years old when Claude first arrived as a puppy and they have grown up together to be the best of pals. Without doubt, French Bulldogs are one of the best breeds to own if you have young kids.
They wrestle, play tug of war, go to the park, and adore each other. And Claude is exactly the same with all children we’ve ever had come over to our house.
In fact, you can see some video and more photos of Claude the Frenchie playing with some kids who came to visit us in my blog post about French Bulldogs and children.
2. Are good therapy dogs
There’s scientific evidence to suggest that Frenchies make for great therapy dogs. In other words, they will cheer people up and make people feel much better about themselves.
After all, what’s not to love about that cheeky cute face and silly behavior so often associated with Frenchies?
They offer unconditional love, adore human companionship, and are often taken into hospitals, care homes, and schools.
It’s easy to understand why and I’ve written extensively about their use as therapy dogs in this guide.
3. Are good for older people
Which segues nicely onto the next pro for owning a French Bulldog; they are a great choice for older people and seniors.
Reason being, they (Frenchies) require less exercise than bigger breeds, love to cuddle, and have been bred to offer more companionship than you could ever wish for.
They are also small, so for the less mobile and more senior generation can be a great choice as a dog. I’ve outlined more reasons for their senior suitability here.
4. Are local celebrities
I never realized the impact owning a Frenchie would have until we had our first outdoor walk with Claude as a puppy. We get stopped all the time with people wanting to meet him!
If you don’t mind a bit of interaction with your local community, a Frenchie is a great choice as so many people want to stop and say hello.
Claude is better known than my wife and I in our local village. Everybody knows Claude’s name and it’s guaranteed that a short walk will always take longer than we expect.
5. Are natural entertainers
French Bulldogs will make you laugh. As a breed they are absolute clowns and have lots of funny expressions, mannerisms, and traits that means there will never be a dull moment in your household.
There’s one brilliant thing Frenchies do in the house. French Bulldog owners call it the “zoomies”; it’s where your dog will run at full pelt from one side of a room to another.
You have to see it to believe it, and when you do it will have you in stitches.
6. Are chilled (sometimes) and adaptable
One of the worries we had about owning a French Bulldog was how adaptable he would be to our lifestyle. We’re a busy family and love the great outdoors and new experiences.
This was one of the French Bulldog pros and cons we were most worried about, but our experience has been wholly positive.
We take Claude everywhere with us, and he will just be chilled and adapt to his surroundings. In fact, just this weekend he came on an open top bus tour with us as you can see from the photo below.
7. Are good with other pets
Before we bought Claude as massive concern was how well he would adapt to our cat and vice versa. We soon found that this wasn’t a problem, but I do think it helped that he was a puppy when he arrived – the cat was larger than him at the time.
Overall, our experience of owning a cat and a Frenchie has been a positive one. They even sleep together in the same bed.
The bottom line is this; our experience and that of Frenchie owners we know is that this breed tends to be very good with other pets.
To find out how we introduced our Frenchie to our cat, read this blog post which has a video in it showing them playing together.
8. Will sleep a lot
You might consider this a negative trait, but for our family the fact that Claude the Frenchie sleeps a lot actually works in our favor. It’s something all French Bulldogs do, and I’ve put together a sleeping chart of what to expect each day.
So why do we think sleeping is a pro?
Well, it means that when he is awake, we can give him our full attention, wear him out, and then let him get back to sleep again. You don’t have to be constantly having to entertain your Frenchie as they are very demanding when awake (which I will discuss in the cons section).
9. Love to play and have fun
And talking of awake time, once your pup has his eyes open, he will love to play and have fun. It’s one of the biggest positives we can think of for owning a French Bulldog, particularly as parents of a six-year-old boy.
They have become playmates, which has really helped us as a family with an only child.
Just make sure that you have plenty of toys to keep your Frenchie entertained with. You can see some of the best on the market in my French Bulldog gear recommendations.
10. Are part of an amazing community
Once you own a Frenchie you will soon start to know other owners and almost become part of an exclusive club. The first time you meet another French Bulldog when walking yours you will see what I mean.
Owning a Frenchie is almost like a badge of honor and places you in a very special community of dog lovers both offline and online. We’re members of Frenchie Facebook groups which I recommend you also seek and join to share your experiences and questions.
11. Are (relatively) easy to train
Take this one with a pinch of salt, as how well your dog is trained will be down to the effort and time that you put in.
It took us around a year to get Claude completely trained with recall, sit, and other commands, but once he was past the puppy stage, training did become a lot easier.
At the time it was a challenge but looking back on it now it was actually relatively easy. I recommend puppy socialization classes and training classes though to make things smoother.
12. Are a loyal breed
Once you get your Frenchie, he probably won’t want to leave your side. Loyalty is a huge part of their genetic make-up.
However, that can also prove to be not just a pro, but also a con as I will describe later in this guide regarding separation anxiety and being left alone.
Don’t expect yours to be a great guard dog, but they will stand by your side no matter what.
13. Don’t need lots of exercise
People will tell you that Frenchies don’t need a lot of exercise. It’s a common belief and not without foundation. With ours, we take him for a couple of 20 to 25-minute walks each day, and that’s enough for him aside from the play he has indoors with us.
Whilst that might sound like a lot of commitment, it really isn’t in terms of owning a dog.
So, if you can’t even commit to walking your dog this much, please don’t get one. It’s really not a lot of walking and play in the grand scheme of pet ownership.
14. Are great for apartment living
Due to their small stature and lack of needing intense exercise, Frenchies make great dogs for those that live in small apartments or flats.
If this sounds like you please read my guide to French Bulldog apartment living which gives you the inside track on what to expect.
15. Are not big barkers
Frenchies don’t tend to bark lots. Claude rarely barks, even when another dog is being aggressive towards him.
In fact, the only time Claude will bark is if the doorbell goes or when he catches his reflection in a mirror.
This is one of the factors that people often love about Frenchies and is a definite pro to ownership if a barking dog could be a problem in terms of where you live.
16. Are very affectionate and cuddly
Be prepared for this. Frenchies love to cuddly with their owners and get right on top of them – it’s their breeding, and means they are one of the most affectionate breeds of dog on the planet.
But you need to give the affection back to keep your pup happy.
17. Are not aggressive dogs
I can’t talk for all French Bulldogs, but I’ve never met an aggressive one yet. Our own Frenchie doesn’t have an aggressive bone in his body.
To place this into perspective, when we first got our dog, our son was 3 years old. At that age he did tend to pull and prod our dog a lot, and not once did Claude ever react badly.
I do believe this is a very common trait of Frenchies. They have been bred to be human companion dogs and that shines through in their lack of aggression.
French Bulldogs: cons to ownership
And now for the cons. There are plenty of reasons why you should not get a French Bulldog. The bottom line is that you need to be committed, have the money, patience, and time to give them the love and care that they need.
18. Are an expensive breed to own
French Bulldogs don’t come cheap. From the cost of buying a puppy, possible C-sections, special food, and potential health issues and insurance, you will need a big wallet.
In the future I will publish a guide to how much it costs to own a French Bulldog, but in very simple terms we budget at least £75 a month (which equates to around $93 US dollars) on our Frenchie. This includes food, insurance and budgeting for any unexpected costs.
19. Can be big chewers
Assuming you get your Frenchie as a puppy, be prepared to place things in lock down when the teething starts. They don’t stop teething until around 8 months, so before that they can chew everything and anything in sight. Even after teething they can still like a good chew.
Handy Hint: If the chewing has become problematic, don’t worry. I’ve put together a list of 8 tips which will help you curb the chewing problems.
If your Frenchie is still chewing and being destructive as an adult it good even be the sign of a bigger health problem.
To find out more about the teething timeline and what to expect read this guide.
20. Will fart a lot (and it stinks!)
If you have a sensitive nose and can’t stand offensive smells, then a French Bulldog isn’t for you. Their farts alone are a good enough reason to not get a Frenchie.
Nobody can ever really prepare you for how bad their farts are. It’s a toxic gas that will permeate your very being and will linger for hours.
Needless to say, often it will be down to what you’re feeding them, but even the best-balanced diet won’t mean you escape the dreaded Frenchie farts… here are some safe fruits your Frenchie can eat.
There’s zero chance you won’t get horrible farts, but you can reduce the smell with a decent food choice. We use Royal Canin’s French Bulldog food and that seems to have reduced the nasty smells a little bit.
21. Will snore a lot
And then there’s the snoring.
As a brachycephalic breed they have shortened snouts, the negative by-product being snoring.
This is why we don’t let Claude sleep in our bedroom. As soon as his eyes are closed and he’s lying own he will start snoring really loudly.
If you value your sleep, don’t get a Frenchie.
22. Need help cleaning
Your Frenchie won’t be able to clean himself as well as he should. For example, you will need to regularly clean his ears and between his face folds, plus occasionally give him a bath (here’s how to bathe him).
But the worst part? His butt.
He can’t reach it, so you will have times where he’s done his business and has a little bit of mess left behind.
It can drop on the floor or get on the couch if you’re not careful so have plenty of tissue close at hand after he’s been to the toilet.
23. Are victims of irresponsible breeding
Due to their increased popularity, there are irresponsible breeders out there looking to make a quick buck from a Frenchie sale. There are certain things you should always ask a breeder before you buy, and I’ve listed them all for you here.
But there’s also the moral dilemma.
Frenchies have been bred and over-bred to achieve the look they have today. They didn’t always look like this (see here) and the breeding has contributed to a lot of their health issues.
If you have an ethical issue with this, then I recommend you don’t buy a French Bulldog. It’s something that we have wrestled with ourselves and probably wouldn’t buy another one now we know the full story.
24. Cannot swim
If you live anywhere near water that is higher than your Frenchies head, then this is a good enough reason to not get one.
They can drown very easily so please be careful near water.
25. Are needy dogs
In the positives of owning a Frenchie I spoke about the pros and cons where it related to their affection and loyalty.
It’s a two-way street though as French Bulldogs are prone to separation anxiety. They cannot be left alone for long periods of time and don’t suit a person who will be at work all day.
Please don’t get a French Bulldog if you won’t be able to spend the majority of the day with them. They will get depressed and possibly ill. I wrote a long guide which explains what signs you need to look out for if you suspect your Frenchie is depressed and sad.
26. Are better in pairs
This is why I believe two French Bulldogs are better than one.
These social dogs will thrive off each other and will love the companionship of having a doggy friend.
If you can afford a Frenchie, think about getting another dog too. Whether that’s another of the same breed or something else, it will make your dog so much happier.
27. Can be hard to potty train
In the pros section I mentioned that Frenchies can be relatively easy to train, but there was one aspect which took longer than the rest; potty training.
I can only compare having a Frenchie puppy to having a human baby. You have to contend with a lot of mess, poop, and wee on the floor.
It took us a long time to get this aspect cracked as Claude would wee on the floor even up to the age of around 9 months.
I published a guide to potty training a Frenchie which will give you an idea on what to expect.
28. Can eat their own poop
Before we got Claude, I asked a friend of mine about the pros and cons to owning a French Bulldog. The first thing he said was the poop eating.
Whether this is a Frenchie characteristic or just generic for all dogs I don’t know. What I do know is that I’ve lost count of the number of owners who have complained to me about it.
I wrote a guide to why this happens with some tips on how to stop them doing it.
29. Do shed a lot of hair
French Bulldogs shed a lot of hair and like most dogs, are not hypoallergenic. If you suffer with allergies you might want to reconsider getting a Frenchie, as there will always be a lot of hair to deal with, particularly during the shedding parts of the year.
To find out how much hair they shed, when it happens, and how you can reduce the problem, read this guide to French Bulldog shedding.
In simple terms, you will have a lot of hair on your furniture and in your car.
30. Suffer in the heat
Frenchies cannot deal with heat. After just a few minutes of running around in the sun they will be exhausted to the point where they need to lie down in the shade to recover, and recovery can take up to 30 minutes.
We learned this the hard way when we took Claude on a walk in the summer, so please don’t make the same mistake. Thankfully he was ok, but over-heating is a big problem.
If you live in a hot climate you cannot walk your Frenchie unless it’s in the cooler early morning or early evening.
They are not bred to live outside, and also don’t cope well in cold temperatures. You can read more in this guide which explains how you can stop your dog from over-heating.
31. Love to dig holes
Do you value your garden or back yard? If you do, you might need to Frenchie proof it.
We had a problem with Claude where he was continually digging holes in our lawn. We actually had to build a fence and paving slabs are for him to keep in when un-attended.
The reasons they like to dig are varied, so take a look at what the underlying digging issues could be.
32. Are big droolers
French Bulldogs also drool a lot. Most of the time this is nothing serious as simply happens after they eat or drink.
Claude also drools when we go for a walk and he’s over-exerted himself. He has these messy drool strings hanging from his mouth. We call them lip-hangers and need to clean them away with tissue – not a nice job!
However, if your Frenchie drools even more than usual (and that’s a lot anyway) then it could be the sign of a bigger health problem.
33. Are a stubborn breed
There’s one common theme you will read when searching the Internet for the pros and cons of French Bulldogs; their stubbornness.
Needless to say, this can be part of their funny personality. But it can be frustrating if you need them to get off the couch or stop rolling around in mud when on a walk.
35. Come with multiple health issues
And lastly, and the biggest negative / downside con to owning a French Bulldog is their propensity to having health problems.
It’s all down to how they have been bred over time and raises some interesting questions over ethics.
I am not here to preach to you though, but please do your research into what health issues your Frenchie could end up having. I’ve listed the 31 most common ones according to scientific research.
I hope this has given you a good idea of what to know about owning a French Bulldog, what to expect, and the pros and cons you need to consider.
In conclusion, Frenchies aren’t like other breeds. They come with their own unique challenges.
Please don’t buy in haste and do as much research as you can before you get one.
To find out more and get answers to other Frenchie questions, use the search function at the top of the website.